DS

North America

Hotel Dusk: Room 215

by Daniel Bloodworth - January 28, 2007, 6:00 pm PST
Total comments: 20

8

Forgeries, murder, alcohol, pink bunny rabbits… welcome to Hotel Dusk.

Nintendo is wise to market Hotel Dusk: Room 215 as an interactive novel. Not only is it more likely to draw in the non-gamers who are looking for something more than Brain Age, but it also tells the gamers: you will read a lot.

The story follows Kyle Hyde, a former NYPD detective who left the force three years ago after his partner betrayed him and disappeared. He now works as a door-to-door salesman for a company called Red Crown. However, there's more to Red Crown's business than selling household gadgets, and from time to time, Kyle's boss will call on his sleuthing skills. Kyle is sent to Hotel Dusk to nose out some items for a client and he finds that the old dive may also hold the clues he needs to find his missing partner. He sets out to uncover the shady history of the hotel and learn what the other guests are doing in a place like this.

When playing Hotel Dusk, you hold the DS sideways like a book. If you're right-handed, the touch screen will be on the right, or if you're left-handed, it will be on the left. The entire game can be played using only the touch screen, but you can use the buttons to walk or to advance a conversation.

As you walk around the hotel, the touch screen displays a simple top-down diagram of the room while the other screen gives a first person 3D view. If there's something worth looking at, the examine button will light up, allowing you to move the 3D view to the touch screen and poke around.

As in most adventure games, you combine seemingly random items to solve puzzles and find clues, but in Hotel Dusk some puzzles take advantage of the DS hardware (spoiler)by making you do things like twist the screen or close the system. On top of that, a significant portion of gameplay is found in the conversations you have with other people. You'll routinely need to ask questions, and you can lose favor with characters or get booted from the hotel if you make a poor assumption or give away that you've been snooping where you don't belong.

One really nice touch is the included notebook. If you need to jot down information like numbers related to a puzzle or an appointment you've made with a character, you can just scrawl it out by hand. This comes in especially handy before you save because you can just write a note to tell yourself where to go whenever you get back to the game.

The art style adds a unique flair to the game. While the environments are in full-color 3D, characters are presented via animated pencil sketches. Even while someone is standing still, the shading shifts back and forth to give the impression of movement. Some scenes add dabbles of watercolor on top of the sketches, and flashbacks are presented with a film grain effect. With the sideways orientation of the DS, these hand-drawn sketches really have a chance to shine and the style really does bring life to the characters.

Sketch Art Style:

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is somewhat more mature than its predecessor, Trace Memory. You won't be finding a bloody mess on the floor or anything, but the story is more grown-up (no more silly devices that look like DS hardware) and the script is packed with profanity, befitting its rough characters. It has some light and touching moments as well, but many of your dialogue choices range between being a little abrasive and acting like a total jerk.

Once you've finished all ten chapters, you'll be left with a few loose-ends, giving the story a mixed sense of resolution. It's not likely that you'll start over right away when you finish it, but there are multiple endings and some elements, like numbers, change in certain puzzles. Plus, when you replay the game, you can speed through the text faster.

While Hotel Dusk probably won't go down in any halls of fame, it's a solid entry for the DS and a welcome step up from Trace Memory. There's a lot more dialogue than some adventure players may be used to, but the characters have wonderfully distinct personalities. (Who doesn't love an old woman with an eyepatch drinking at the bar?) Here's to hoping Kyle Hyde's detective work won't end here.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
9 8 8.5 8 7 8
Graphics
9

I really like the pencil-sketched style used for the characters. While it's clear the number of animation frames is limited, their movements are convincing and their expressions usually match the dialogue. The overhead maps are simple and concise, while the 3D first-person view shows fine details.

Sound
8

Being a book and all, the audio really isn't critical to the experience, as you may find yourself playing it in areas where you have to turn the volume down anyways. The soundtrack is composed of the jazz and blues you'd expect from a detective story, and there's a jukebox later in the game that lets you pick your favorite tunes.

Control
8.5

The controls are simple through most of the game, but at one point you go bowling in a hallway and it's not so easy to roll that ball where you want it. Being able to forward the dialogue with the cross pad or a shoulder button is more comfortable than the stylus during long conversations. Plus, the game is friendly to lefties, allowing them to flip the DS the other way.

Gameplay
8

The puzzles are balanced better than a lot of adventure games. So even though you won't get every puzzle on your first try, you're not as likely to get hopelessly stuck. The lengthy dialogue can slow the pace of the game some, but the bigger culprit is the overabundance of useless items that you can click on. I can examine nearly every bathtub, toilet, and shampoo bottle in the hotel, but only once is there a significant item in a bathroom.

Lastability
7

Hotel Dusk is actually pretty long for this type of game, probably taking around twelve or fifteen hours for most players. The main joy in this game is piecing the clues and story together, which naturally makes it less exciting to replay. There are alternate endings and at least one alternate puzzle, but I'm not convinced that the experience would be too different the second time around.

Final
8

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is another gift from Cing and Nintendo to adventure-starved gamers. It has a great atmosphere and story, and hopefully this isn't the last we'll see of Kyle Hyde.

Summary

Pros
  • Comfortable layout for extended reading
  • Consequences for asking bad questions
  • Outstanding art style and characters
Cons
  • Dialogue may be too lengthy for some
  • Frustrating bowling mini-game
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

I really enjoy sleuthing in Phoenix Wright, but I've been burned by adventure games on PC and mac in the past with their crazy puzzles. Sounds like I might like this one, though.

Karl Castaneda #2January 28, 2007

I'm around 5 and a half hours into this game, and I really like it so far. Like Dan said, there's tons of reading, but if that's okay with you, it's a brilliant experience.

ShyGuyJanuary 28, 2007

"this statement sounds seedy, its like he’s a newscaster without a soul."

Bloodworth is a newscaster without a soul. Heh, sorry but the responses at GoNintendo made me laugh.

I haven't picked it up yet, but I hope to have it this week (just as soon as I finish Touch Detective.)

TrueNerdJanuary 28, 2007

Amazon is sending me a copy as we speak. I'll be Dusking away hopefully before the end of the week.

Bill AurionJanuary 28, 2007

As an avid adventure game fanatic, I say 8.0 is too low... =3

"I can examine nearly every bathtub, toilet, and shampoo bottle in the hotel, but only once is there a significant item in a bathroom."

This statement bothers me for two reasons...First, it's more realistic this way...I mean, if you were really exploring a room, you WOULD have to check everything out...This isn't Resident Evil, where all the stuff you need sparkles for absolutely no reason...Second, it would be pretty bloody dull if you walked into a room and you can't check anything out except for the one item that you happen to need...I thought the localization team did an excellent job of giving new dialogue for similar items in different rooms, so it's not like you are reading the same thing over and over again...

KDR_11kJanuary 28, 2007

"That is a completely unusable thingamabob."

Quote

Originally posted by: Bill Aurion
As an avid adventure game fanatic, I say 8.0 is too low... =3

"I can examine nearly every bathtub, toilet, and shampoo bottle in the hotel, but only once is there a significant item in a bathroom."

This statement bothers me for two reasons...First, it's more realistic this way...I mean, if you were really exploring a room, you WOULD have to check everything out...This isn't Resident Evil, where all the stuff you need sparkles for absolutely no reason...Second, it would be pretty bloody dull if you walked into a room and you can't check anything out except for the one item that you happen to need...I thought the localization team did an excellent job of giving new dialogue for similar items in different rooms, so it's not like you are reading the same thing over and over again...
Hmm, this actually makes me think twice about buying the game...again. Searching every damn thing is something I don't want to do.

MarioJanuary 29, 2007

Huh? You don't like thinking?

Bill AurionJanuary 29, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: TheYoungerPlumber
Quote

Originally posted by: Bill Aurion
As an avid adventure game fanatic, I say 8.0 is too low... =3

"I can examine nearly every bathtub, toilet, and shampoo bottle in the hotel, but only once is there a significant item in a bathroom."

This statement bothers me for two reasons...First, it's more realistic this way...I mean, if you were really exploring a room, you WOULD have to check everything out...This isn't Resident Evil, where all the stuff you need sparkles for absolutely no reason...Second, it would be pretty bloody dull if you walked into a room and you can't check anything out except for the one item that you happen to need...I thought the localization team did an excellent job of giving new dialogue for similar items in different rooms, so it's not like you are reading the same thing over and over again...
Hmm, this actually makes me think twice about buying the game...again. Searching every damn thing is something I don't want to do.

You don't HAVE to check everything, but if you were a real adventure game player you would! =P

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusJanuary 29, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Bill Aurion
As an avid adventure game fanatic, I say 8.0 is too low... =3

"I can examine nearly every bathtub, toilet, and shampoo bottle in the hotel, but only once is there a significant item in a bathroom."

This statement bothers me for two reasons...First, it's more realistic this way...I mean, if you were really exploring a room, you WOULD have to check everything out...This isn't Resident Evil, where all the stuff you need sparkles for absolutely no reason...Second, it would be pretty bloody dull if you walked into a room and you can't check anything out except for the one item that you happen to need...I thought the localization team did an excellent job of giving new dialogue for similar items in different rooms, so it's not like you are reading the same thing over and over again...



Bill, I agree that there should be extra stuff out there, I just think that Hotel Dusk has a bit too much. If you're going to have whole rooms that don't help move the game forward, at least give me some things to fool around with. Let me draw on the mirrors with lipstick, and have the maid scold me about it later.

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusJanuary 29, 2007

You guys really want to see a bad review, then check this out. Oh my, how many facts can you get wrong in something that short?
http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/etoday/story.html?id=4d24eba6-5951-4b23-85ef-44f14994127a&k=98850

JonLeungJanuary 29, 2007

I probably have some kind of obsessive-complusive order that requires me to save in video games after every little accomplishment or every few minutes.

The fact that at one point in Chapter One, I went through 43 minutes WITHOUT SAVING THAT ENTIRE TIME is a testament to how engrossing it was, and in truth, nothing really happened yet. I'm at the very start of Chapter Two, and I'm wondering how the whole game will play if I was so engrossed when nothing was truly happening. I just talked to some people and was rude to a kid.

On that note, can't Kyle be a little less abrasive? Sheesh.

Bill AurionJanuary 29, 2007

He's just playing his part as a classic film noir protagonist! face-icon-small-smile.gif

Oh, and after finally beating the game, I stand by my prior judgement and give the game a bloody 10!

TMWFebruary 07, 2007

Right. Thats it. I was doing a damn good job of not buying this game, but Tycho's post at PA, coupled with this thread, has pretty much killed my resolve.

Bastards. All of you. =P

matt ozJanuary 05, 2009

*dusting off a 2-year old topic*

I got this game through Gamefly recently and I was enjoying it up to a point.  The story, though glacially paced, was intriguing, and I found many of the characters to be believable.  But the damn bowling minigame ruined it for me.  No matter what I do, the ball goes all the way to one side of the screen.  After countless throws, I've only knocked down pins on two occasions, and I have no idea how I did it.  So, because of this needlessly tedious and poorly controlled minigame, I'm sending the game back without finishing it.

I seriously hate stuff like this in games.  I never beat Starfox Adventures on the Gamecube because I couldn't press A fast enough.  Just stupid, pointless stuff that ruins games.  I hate it!

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJanuary 06, 2009

I don't remember any particularly hard bowling mini-game/puzzle... and I *loved* Hotel Dusk... ?

matt ozJanuary 06, 2009

Quote from: UncleBob

I don't remember any particularly hard bowling mini-game/puzzle... and I *loved* Hotel Dusk... ?

It's where you bowl with Louie in the hallway outside his room.  I couldn't get any control over the ball whatsoever.  I would let go of the ball in the middle of the screen, and it would veer hard left and end up being a gutter ball.  Every single time except two, and I have no idea how that happened.  It was really frustrating and I hadn't saved before starting it, so I just sent the game back to Gamefly.  Hopefully they'll send me something that's not in the bottom half of my queue this time.

RABicleJanuary 07, 2009

I'm pretty sure it was optional. Or you jsut ahd to do it and Louie was all "wow that was fun hey you know what?"

vuduJanuary 07, 2009

I think you had to do that in order to break a pot or a vase in order to find a hidden key.  I don't recall if you had to be good at the mini-game in order to break the item (or if it was even you who broke it--maybe it was Louie and all you had to do was play the game for a bit).

Bill AurionJanuary 07, 2009

Ahahahahaha, come on, the bowling game is simple (you only need to win the first or second round)...If you REALLY need help, then, uh, put some sticky notes on the screen in a way that leaves a single straight line going up towards the pins...And don't do it so fast, so you have a little control...

matt oz FAIL...

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Wish Room Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer CING
Players1
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Hotel Dusk: Room 215
Release Jan 24, 2007
PublisherNintendo
RatingTeen
jpn: Wish Room
Release Jan 25, 2007
PublisherNintendo
RatingAll Ages
eu: Hotel Dusk: Room 215
Release Apr 13, 2007
PublisherNintendo
Rating12+
aus: Hotel Dusk: Room 215
Release Feb 22, 2007
PublisherNintendo

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